The Navy announced today that U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) has accepted the first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for initial operational use.
MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical communications system designed to improve communications for U.S. forces on the move. The Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC) at Point Mugu, Calif., began “flying” the satellite in June.
“This provides the warfighter with powerful capability,” said Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/ U.S. 10th Fleet. “The hard work of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, NAVSOC, and other teammates continues to benefit Navy and joint warfighting missions.”
The Navy is responsible for providing narrowband satellite communication for the Department of Defense and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command is assigned to serve as the Navy Component Command to USSTRATCOM for space, cyberspace, and information operations.
USSTRATCOM Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space) is responsible for executing continuous, integrated space operations to deliver theater and global effects in support of national and combatant commander objectives. It coordinates space operational-level planning, integration, and coordination to ensure a unified effort in supporting military and national security operations as well as civil authorities.
“MUOS-1 allows JFCC Space to continue optimal tactical communications support for the joint war fighter and the nation,” said Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, commander of JFCC Space and 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic).
In addition to providing continuous communication for all branches of the U.S. military, Navy delivered space-based narrowband capability that MUOS provides also ensures reliable worldwide coverage for national emergency assistance, disaster response, and humanitarian relief.
“Whether it’s in vehicles, on ships, in submarines, in aircraft, or simply carried by service members who are dismounted from vehicles and on the move, this system was designed to bring them voice and data communication services, both in point-to-point mode and through networked communications. Those capabilities have not existed with previous programs,” said Navy Capt. Paul Ghyzel, the MUOS program manager at SPAWAR.
The MUOS constellation will consist of four satellites and an on-orbit spare. The system also includes four ground stations strategically located around the globe, which provide worldwide coverage and the ability to connect users wherever they are. The ground system transports data, manages the worldwide network and controls the satellites.
With today’s narrowband communication system, users have to be stationary with an antenna up and pointed toward a satellite. MUOS will allow the warfighter to move around the battlespace while communicating and send data at 10 times more capacity than now.
After the launch of the second satellite, projected for July 2013, MUOS will provide military users simultaneous voice, video and data capability by leveraging 3G mobile communications technology.
The MUOS constellation is expected to achieve full operational capability in 2015, extending narrowband availability well past 2025.
The MUOS program is managed by the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems, Chantilly, Va., and its Communications Satellite Program Office in San Diego.
Naval Today Staff,November 22, 2012; Image: US Navy